Meet The Newest Members of the D-SIP Team

This summer D-SIP will have three new staff members. Learn more about them below.

Jillian Gross, EDU 471 Instructor

Jillian Gross joins the team as the new instructor of the educational class. She is a doctoral candidate at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor in the Center for the Study of Higher and Postsecondary Education. Before her doctoral studies, Jillian also earned an A.B. at U of M (’01) and a Masters in Nonprofit Leadership at Seattle University (’08). Along the way, she has taught high school, served as an AmeriCorps volunteer for two-years, and worked in the nonprofit sector for another eight years. A few of her deepest community engagements include volunteering and working for Habitat for Humanity in different capacities for over twenty years, serving on the Board of Directors for the Mockingbird Society for five years, and collaboratively leading the Project Leadership program at MetroVolunteers. This summer, she is excited to help the interns explore philanthropy as a way of life – one that is intentional, deeply relational, and requires integrity in every interaction.

habitat roof jlg.jpg

Melissa Burns

The D-SIP team now has the help of another alum. Melissa Burns, from the D-SIP class of 2012, is in charge of intern logistics. She also leads the marketing team to recruit the next cohort and manages the interview and selection processes. Melissa graduated from the University of Michigan (’13) with a degree in political science and international studies, and in her free time enjoys exploring new exercise classes (she recently took up fencing!), reading, and exploring all of the wonderful places to eat in the Southeast Michigan area. This summer, she cannot wait to see the interns compete in the Nonprofit 9-0 Challenge, which is a nonprofit consulting challenge held since 2012. Interested in learning more? See our past challenges here.

Caroline Rebello

Caroline Rebello joined the D-SIP team as a program assistant this past November. Caroline manages all of the supervisor logistics–reaching out to units who want an intern and helping to ensure that the supervisors are prepared for the summer! Caroline a semi-recent  graduate of Michigan State University (’14) with a major in Communication, Public Relations and Portuguese. She jumped into the world of philanthropy a little over a year ago. Caroline is the first hire on the D-SIP team who is not a D-SIP/U-M alumni! Outside of the office, she enjoys running, hiking and traveling to Brazil to visit her family. She’s SO excited to learn more from and about the 2016 cohort!

Hail Yeah SP Team



90 hours. 5 teams. 1 charge… Ready. Set. Go!

Since 2012, every D-SIP cohort has participated in the Nonprofit 9-0: a 90-hour consulting project with a local nonprofit. Interns suggest solutions to a fundraising challenge identified by the organization. So far, three nonprofits have participated in the Nonprofit 9-0 consulting project. Read on to learn more about them and see who this year’s partner will be!

Year One: HARC (HIV/AIDS Resource Center)HARC
HARC’s mission is to provide HIV-related services to the community through compassionate direct care, prevention, and outreach activities. During the initial year of the Nonprofit 9-0, the 2012 interns were tasked with helping HARC raise more money from their annual fundraising walk. Groups of Nonprofit 9-0 interns developed walker-recruitment plans for use by large community employers (such as hospitals), high schools, smaller businesses, and more. The goal of this outreach was to have these community partners form walking teams. Interns also created four marketing appeals to recruit these groups. After hearing all of the intern presentations, HARC had multiple walker-recruitment plans and marketing pieces. The work was so strong that HARC applied for, and was granted, a Dobson intern in 2013. The Dobson intern’s assignment? To implement many of the suggestions made by the 2012 interns.


Year Two: The Fair Food Network (FFN)
In the second summer of the Nonprofit 9-0 challenge, the 2013 interns worked with FFN, which was relying primarily on grants as its funding source. The interns provided suggestions on how FFN could enhance its visibility in the community in order to increase funding from individual donors. To accomplish this, interns first made recommendations around selecting a celebrity or spokesperson to champion the FFN cause as well as built a strategy around how to leverage that celebrity, based on FFN’s four focus areas: improving healthy food access, informing public policy, enhancing funding strategies, and sharing information. For the second component of the challenge, interns analyzed how FFN could strengthen local ties in the Washtenaw County community to build a donor pipeline through more strategic communications. To mark the end of this very exciting project and to celebrate the presentation of several creative ideas, the winning intern team had lunch and visited the Eastern Market in Detroit—one of the main locations for FFN’s work.

YDL LOGO_color_nobackgroundYear Three: The Ypsilanti District Library (YDL)
Last summer, the 2014 cohort was asked to assist with strategy around the library launching its first-ever patron-focused fundraising campaign. The YDL’s campaign goal was to get 2,000 donations. Each intern group identified three to five channels or tools the library could harness to get the word out about the campaign and suggested ways these channels and tools could be leveraged to inspire patrons to contribute to the campaign. Lastly, interns created sample materials that the library could use to promote the campaign, including social media and print pieces. Year three was also D-SIP’s first year of partnering with Richner & Richner, a local nonprofit consulting firm to offer a “Consulting 101” course to the interns.

So, who will be the 2015 Nonprofit 9-0 Challenge partner?

Drum roll, please…

[We hope you’re actually doing a drum roll!]

Year Four: The Ark!
The Ark

Campus Changes

In order to provide the best experience for its students, the University of Michigan is often enhancing its campus. Below are some of the major recent changes.

School of Nursing Academic Building Construction

Stop 1: School of Nursing Academic Building

With its students in mind, the School of Nursing broke ground on April 5, 2013. This date marked the start of a renovation project that will provide more instructional spacespecifically, active learning classrooms and a clinical learning centerfor the school.


Stop 2: Munger Graduate Residence Hall

Munger Graduate Residence

Munger Graduate Residence Hall Construction

What do an M.B.A. candidate, law student, and master’s candidate in social work have in common? Most likely, the ability to solve complex challenges, especially if they work together. In April of 2013, Charles T. Munger made a gift to create a graduate residence hall so that a diverse group of graduate and professional students could live together and interact creating a culture of interdisciplinary collaboration.


Stop 3: South Quad

South Quad | Patrick Record | The Ann Arbor News

U-M has renovated multiple residence halls in recent years, and South Quad was the latest of them. Perhaps the facade only looks a little different from this picture, but the dining hall was completely redesigned and now features micro-restaurants offering food made to order.


Stop 4: UM-Dearborn Student Housing

Another campus change occurred on the Dearborn campus. UM-Dearborn students can now choose to live in student housing! Called the Union at Dearborn, the facility is located conveniently across Evergreen Road, providing an urban campus community for Dearborn students.

The Union at Dearborn |

Stop 5: Stephen M. Ross School of Business

Stephen M. Ross School of Business Construction

You might be surprised to see the Ross School on this list since it was just constructed, but that was just Phase one. Phase two will continue to expand and enhance the school’s academic space, allowing it to grow. The school also just added a program, allowing undergraduates to minor in business.



Stop 6: Phyllis Ocker Field Hockey Field

Ocker Field

Phyllis Ocker Field Hockey Field |

With a talented field hockey team comes the desire to host major events like the NCAA and Big Ten tournaments, as well as the desire to maintain a beautiful playing field. Ocker Field just underwent a major renovation, improving its ability to host major events and creating a new field for the varsity team. The team started the fall 2014 season in its brand new home. These facility upgrades are another example of what donors make possible at the University of Michigan.

Stop 7: Earl V. Moore Building

The renovation and expansion of the Earl V. Moore building, made possible by William K. and Delores S. Brehm,  will greatly benefit programs in the School of Music, Theatre & Dance by providing updated classrooms, more performance space, and a new lecture hall. Construction on the site is set to conclude in fall 2015.

Earl V. Moore Building Construction

Two Alumni Updates: Life as an Aussie and an Attorney

Weston Bruner, D-SIP ’08
Work Placement: Office of University Development (OUD), Prospect Management & Research

What is your current role in Weston BrunerAustralia and what are some of your primary work responsibilities?

Development Manager, University Engagement Branch, University of Adelaide

I am building a proactive major gifts program from the ground up by engaging alumni and other prominent community members in the transformational impact of philanthropy. The University of Adelaide is already a world-class institution; it is my job to achieve buy-in from stakeholders (most of whom do not realize what their gifts are capable of achieving) and secure six- and seven-figure gifts. Not only is Australia (and Adelaide, especially) an incredible place to live, but I love the opportunity to create something new and sustainable for the future of Adelaide, South Australia, and this wonderful country.

What takeaway(s) from D-SIP do you most apply in your current position?

It’s hard to pick, but I guess the most important thing I realized was that fundraising is a profession to be proud of. We can have an exponential effect on the world by giving those with the means the opportunity to make a difference. Whatever you do, make sure your work is facilitating great work by others.

What do you miss most about your Michigan experience or life in Ann Arbor?

I often miss the sheer diversity in such an unassuming place. Cocktails at The Last Word, right by the Fleetwood Diner; a concert at Top of the Park and then one at the Blind Pig. People from all over the world coming together in this small Michigan city, breathing life into the coldest winter days and celebrating the summertime like nowhere else I’ve ever been. Blue skies and warm weather are lovely, but I would take an overcast, frigid day if I could spend it back in A2.

Connect with Weston:

Zachary Risk, D-SIP ’07
Work Placement: UM-Flint

What is your current role and what are some of your primary work responsibilities?

RiskMy title is assistant attorney general (AAG). As an AAG in the Unemployment Section of the Labor Division, I handle cases where the Unemployment Insurance Agency is an interested party. Specifically, I am the attorney of record in the following types of matters, all of which involve claimants, employers, and/or third parties: general civil litigation, administrative hearings, and bankruptcy proceedings.

What takeaway(s) from D-SIP do you most apply in your current position?

As it was my first professional job experience, there are three takeaways my D-SIP experience provided and I continue to use in my current position. First, D-SIP taught me how to work with and protect confidential or sensitive information on a day-to-day basis. Second, D-SIP allowed me to truly appreciate the importance of teamwork in the employment setting. Specifically, it is essential to know how your role fits within a larger project and that everyone’s contribution matters.  Finally, D-SIP demonstrated the value of focusing on something larger than yourself. For example, my office is entrusted with protecting the Unemployment Trust Fund, and I believe this role is a responsibility similar to that of working with U-M donors.

What do you miss most about your Michigan experience or life in Ann Arbor?

Nothing in my life do I consistently feel as nostalgic for as I do being a U-M student in Ann Arbor. From the moment my freshman year began, I felt an immense sense of pride in the opportunity I was given. It was always a great feeling to walk around campus knowing that I was, evidently, one of the “leaders and best.” Also, D-SIP instilled in me a sense of responsibility to my community and made me feel connected to the university. While I still feel this way on occasion outside of the U-M campus and Ann Arbor area, no experience can replicate the feeling of being a U-M student and D-SIP intern.

Connect with Zachary:


Turning Giving Tuesday into Giving Blueday

Giving Blueday, the University of Michigan’s first university-wide day of giving, was a monumental day for D-SIP. The day began with the incredibly exciting news that Associate Vice President for Development Dondi Cupp and his partner, David Roberts, were making a $100,000 bequest to the program! By midnight, an additional $1,815 was given to D-SIP. The entire D-SIP staff was thrilled with the magnitude of the support provided by Dondi, David, program alumni, and several other new and longtime supporters.

Thank You Giving BluedayAnother highlight from Giving Blueday was student involvement on campus. More than 1,500 U-M students made personal gifts of financial support to the areas at Michigan that they are most passionate about. On this ONE day, U-M students donated $77,463.02! Much of this success is a result of the 80 student organizations that raised funds for their causes on this day.

And, it should come as no surprise that many of these student organizations’ efforts were led by D-SIP alumni. Kim Cui, D-SIP ’13, helped lead the efforts for Alternative Spring Break (ASB), while Avery Gleason, D-SIP ’14, applied some D-SIP learnings to help raise money for Appreciate + Reciprocate (A+R). Below is a short Q&A with these alumni.

What was most exciting about Giving Blueday for you as a current student?

Kim: The matching funds for current students were definitely one of the most exciting parts. It made students’ personal contributions go that much further toward the organizations and issues they’re passionate about.

Avery: The most exciting part of Giving Blueday was seeing all the buzz around campus. It seemed like every couple of seconds a student would be Tweeting, Snapchatting or Instagramming about Giving Blueday. Feeling that collective student pride around philanthropy and giving was so inspiring and so cool to be a part of.


What D-SIP takeaway did you most utilize in your Giving Blueday planning or overall effort?

Kim: In D-SIP we talked a lot about the collective impact of donations (e.g., “every gift counts”). As an organization, ASB really tried to emphasize that idea when reaching out to current students and alumni.

Avery: D-SIP helped EVERY aspect of A+R’s Giving Blueday strategy, but the biggest impact D-SIP had on our plans was our stewardship component. D-SIP really showed me the importance of stewardship and how effective stewardship can build lifelong support. It’s way more than just saying thank you. It’s showing your donors that they are vital to the organization. So when we sat down to develop our plans, we placed a very large emphasis on stewardship so we can continue to grow our relationships with our donors.


In what ways did you alter your organization’s fundraising strategy because of this day?

Kim: Each ASB trip we send is required to raise a specific amount of money, and the matching funds have been extremely helpful in meeting those goals. It gives the teams more time to focus on other issues, like learning about different social issues and preparing for the trips themselves.

Avery: Giving Blueday was such a great day because it taught Appreciate + Reciprocateand all student organizations, for that matterthat fundraising is all about personal connections, and not just events. All of these amazing student orgs were able to raise over $157,000 because we tapped into our networks, got students passionate about our missions, andmost importantlymade an ask!